The Ralston City Council discussed at its Aug. 20 meeting outsourcing building permit inspections, leasing a new fire engine and held three public hearings to little opposition.

The City approved and discussed the following:

• Voted 6-0 to approve Douglas County and the Ralston Police Department for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office to deploy an Emergency Service Unit and/or hostage negotiation unit when requested.

•Voted 6-0 to approve an agreement for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office to investigate officer involved shooting incidents when requested.

• Voted 6-0 on a first reading of an amendment dealing with storage and parking of inoperable and operable vehicles.

•Voted 6-0 on a second reading of the Ralston Zoning Ordinance dealing with the requirement for personal and recreational vehicles to be parked on a hard surface. There were questions from the community regarding how this would be enforced and Marc Leonardo, Ralston’s police chief, said the department would come up with a process to get vehicles removed from their improper position as soon as the ordinance was approved.

• Julie Ogden a project engineer at JEO, discussed the pavement improvement project at Ralston Arena. She said the project is 95% completed and all of the concrete in front of the doors to the arena are done and the doors are open for use.

• Kevin Eischeid, Ralston Volunteer Fire Department chief, discussed the need for RVFD to lease a new fire engine. He said the oldest engine the department currently has is from 1993 and after 25 years of service the engine is no longer up to National Fire Protection Agency standards.

He added the department was constantly going in for repairs with their oldest engine and the new fire engine will help with the Insurance Services Office rating and in turn keep the insurance cost for Ralston homeowners down. The ISO creates ratings for fire departments and their surrounding communities based on how well equipped fire departments are to put out fires in that community.

The price of the new engine is $541,878.44.

•Discussed an agreement with Douglas County to outsource building inspection permits. Douglas County has performed this same service for Bennington and Waterloo and on a more limited basis with Valley. Some concerns were brought up about the possibility of permits being held up because only two inspectors were available for the service.

• Forming a design committee to look over the different things that will come in for the Hinge Project to form a standard for the project.

•Voted 6-0 on an acquisition of a parcel of land at the northeast corner of Heritage Circle and 78th Street.

• Discussed re-evaluating the provisions of Article 11 of Ralston zoning code that pertain to advertising through the use of banners and flags, with respect to doing so on public right-of-ways.

This topic will be brought before the city’s Planning Commission on Sept. 10 as a discussion item. The council decided to suspend enforcement of the prohibitions until the council has finished with the re-evaluation process.

The next regular council meeting will be Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at Ralston City Hall.

– Austin Plourde

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